FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – While visiting Guam frequently as a youngster, Ryan Guy always felt a special connection with the tiny island territory located 1,500 miles east of the Philippines and 3,300 miles west of Hawaii. That connection is poised to grow even deeper now as the Revolution midfielder has accepted a call-up to represent Guam at the international level, beginning in next week’s Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup.
Guy was born and raised in San Diego, Calif., but is eligible to represent Guam because his father, Jesse, was born in the U.S. territory. After initially grappling with the decision of whether to wait on a potential call from the U.S. National Team, Guy ultimately chose to accept the challenge of helping Guam, which is currently ranked 185th in the world after joining FIFA in 1996.
“It was a judgment call whether to bide my time here and see if I get a call-up to the U.S. National Team, or really try to help a rising nation,” said Guy. “Soccer’s really growing there and I’m just relishing the opportunity to really help grow the next generation of soccer players. As a new FIFA soccer nation, I think they’ve got a ton of potential, a lot of young players and hopefully I can come straight into a leadership role and help them rise through the international rankings.”
The journey begins next week when Guy heads to the Philippines to meet up with his new teammates for a trio of matches. Guam will play three games in Manila against Philippines (Sept. 25), Taiwan (Sept. 27) and Macau (Sept. 29), meaning Guy will miss the Revolution’s trip to Texas for a meeting with the Houston Dynamo.
Although Guy doesn’t know many players on the team and has never met Guam head coach Gary White face to face, he has chatted with White via Skype. During those initial conversations the two discussed Guy’s role with the team, and it was made clear that at just 27 years old he’ll be counted on to be one of Guam’s veteran leaders.
“I’ll probably be playing in the midfield, looking at being the creative force of that team,” said Guy, who has recently settled into a central midfield role with the Revs after serving as the team’s utility man for much of the season. “I think they have a lot of passion, a lot of athleticism, but a lot of them are young … They definitely have a lot going for them, I just think they need a little bit of composure and hopefully I can help them.”
For both Guy and Guam, the call-up comes at the right time as Guam aims to establish itself on the international scene and Guy looks to make the most of an opportunity to play international soccer, travel the world and represent a territory he connects with deeply.
“It’s our job as players to really take advantage of the best opportunities available,” said Guy. “At this point in my career I felt that this was a great opportunity and good timing. I haven’t seen much of Asia, so even from a cultural standpoint I thought it’d be an exciting opportunity.”